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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 28, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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and famous. but how we lift up those that no one else had time for. thanks for watching, i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. too much tea, let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews's in washington. even if the boehner bill passes the house tonight there are more tough hikes ahead. one u.s. senators need to find a bipartisan alternative to the
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boehner bill capable of getting the 60 votes you need. that means senators need to get their heads and numbers together. the next fight is the conference between the house and senate that has to find a compromise between the two bills, house and senate that is capable of getting 60 votes if senate again and 216 in the houses. that means a compromise capable of drawing it up democratic house members to r for the loss of republican house members for any compromise to the left of the bill which manages to pass tonight. also, holding the economy hostage, are some republicans willing to see the u.s. defalt or lose its credit rating if they don't see everything they want, don't get everything they want? we will talk it a tea partier about how far some people are willing to go. also, where is president obama in all this? he is losing favor among his core supporters we here and nate silver says if his numbers don't approve he will be a two to one underdog next year. who is winning the message war?
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we will talk to men penn about how each side hopes to come out of this looking like the responsible party. let me finish tonight with a question of just what the tea party is willing to do, what is to stop them to get their way. we start with the debt ceiling crisis. chuck todd's and richard wolffe and kelly o'donnell up on the hill. we begin with her. let's hear. kelly, give us a sense of the smell an actions right this moment it trying to get this vote ready for the republicans. snrs well, the place to be outside the speaker's door. because those who are nos, publicly nos are called it see the bosses even trying to get a since if they can be moved to a yes. this came to a lurching halt, chris, within 15 or 20 minutes of when we expected the vote to happen it knit. they switched to naming post
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offices, which is standard businesses. everyone went scrambling, what is going wrong. we hear it is a single digits. a handful of republicans that speaker boehner and his team need to get this thing through. it feelt like some of the momentum was moving his way. so what have we got? people who come out strongly against this. namely in the tea party wing. then you have someone like jeff flake, republican of arizona who wants it run for senate. he might be someone more movable because of his longer tenure here in congress. things like that. did comes down to a very smart game for what are theish issues of members. but the implications are huge. the senate is waiting tonight we talk it members who are kind of just hanging around wondering what will happen and most senators i talked to are in a very sour mood deeply concern head is going off the rail. so the snapshot of the moment is there a frantic effort to try to change their minds, win some
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votes and bring this to an end. at this particular time the house is dark and that is more than literal term is it seems to have a figurely impact as well chris? >> it seems like this is game played by two sides. sure there a whipping operation now that cantor is on the team with boehner. isn't there 200 tea party organization nationwide? making phone calls to the cloak room. trying to get their guys to stay off the vote. >> reporter: well, you remember what this game is. mcconnell and want to have the three or four days of showdown rather than hand it over to the white house and harry reid. if they can't get the boehner deal out of the house, then there goes that leverage and you will see mcconnell move quickly to try to work something out with reid. you do wonder this, chris, one
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of the things that democrats may have done and maybe now claim they do it on purpose probably wasn't the intent at the time which is when we came out and said, this thing is dead in the senate, there is no chance boehner will live in the senate. that sends a message to some of guys sitting on the fence saying why should i walk the plank on this for something that's going to die anyway. i can get punished in a primary forit, forget it. we know about the ones waivering, they are trying to flip. what about the ones they did flip, going wait a minute, i thought they had it. this thing could be collapsing right in front of their eyes. >> suppose snooez does collapse. you and i were talking off camera a moment ago. >> when we watch is the machine that's going to come in from god and save this whole thing. could it be that that's the old plan of mitch mcconnell, tough partisan republic who says we
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have to get this crap over, if you will, so we need to raise the debt ceiling and let him take the heat. >> i think that's the rescue mission for everyone. and mcconnell and reid come together. pro kproemize, put cuts together with this surrender of power, albeit under guise of disapproval. remember their thinking, they are damaging here. the third party movement, they have managed to show the republican party is not fit to govern. mcconnell's idea is to show we are responsible and fight the election -- >> let's check on the ground with kelly. are they aware if they blow it and can't get to 216, if they don't have the vehicle to drive next tuesday, the only vehicle may well be this plan it throw it in the president's lap? >> reporter: i think that is exactly what is happening. when you watch mitch mcconnell the last few days wlab do you see? he is a bit for subdued. he is not one of the big players
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in all of this. he has taken a role where he made is clear on the floor where he is fully supportive. he said what needed to be said. throw sug port there. but privately many other senators are telling us mccon sell working on a deal. mcconnell's aides say no, that's not going on. if you piece these things together, you get the sense where someone who thinks he can see the end game, thought i had it a while back and the opportunity for members of congress to disapprove a debt ceiling vote, which is part of the mechanics of hoop jumping legislatively is actually a plus for some tea party members who don't want to be on board right now. second ago, paul ducked under the camera to get to another location. he is another one i was thinking of. when you vote against the debt ceiling but give the president that authority that might be way for everybody to get what they want. it is of course too soon to see how it will factor out. but watching mix mcconnell, you
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will see someone who gets a sense of how things work and to see how he uses the power he earned all this time. >> chuck you first, who gets blamed they can't get this done by tuesday? >> look, either the republicans have more to lose here than anybody else. they've been driving this train. they've been driving this debt limit thing. so if their version of what they are trying to sell is compromised, if they can't get it through in legislative action, they are in serious trouble. i tell you this, this is something our colleague put in, he said said, oddly enough, the irony could be that if this falls apart tonight in the house, the deal it make this happen, actually gets put together faster. mccon sell the type of guy. such an operator, he will move so quickly to get it done, cut the deal with reid and get it over with. he won't want to see 48 hours of hand-ringing.
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having the party made fun of. all these things. you can see this thing end in 48 hours. >> kelly, just a question, a query. if boehner can't get through what he sees a right but not quite all the way right plan, is there a further left through the house, are sizeable republican support so the only alternative is not a different kind of boehner but a totally different plan which is this thing of throwing it in the president's lap? >> it sure seems like this is workable way to go. have you two alternatives, give the resistant tea party folks a way it come on board without compromising their bottom line or attract more democrats. but if you look at what's mitch mcconnell has been saying, he was so clear here the other day. pretty flat out, i'm toward do what is less than perfect because there is no other way. those weren't his exact words but that is the sentiment. it was stark at the time i heard it. it may be the thing that echos through the cavernous halls to night. that he is ready to do a deal.
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he just needs the time to run out on john boehner and what he is trying to do. >> richard last thought here. how does this shake out. >> it gets worse for the republicans. if they can't get through the house on second round, because this is a side show, then what happens? the president says we won't default. we will close down parts of the government. stop social security checks. either way they lose. now or in a week's time. pressure is worse and worse for republicans. that's why they need it it right now. >> people in the white house say they do not know, they really do not know which way the president will come out on this. what the range of tactics are. >> got to go. what a night thp thanks for sticking around. thank you chuck, thank you kelly for the great insight. we will come back in a moment to talk about this vote. could come out at any moment tonight wp we will break in for it when it happens. coming up, how far are the republicans willing to go to let
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this thing endanger our economy. downgrade, economic catastrophe, we will talk to the tea party up next. how far are they willing to go in the fight. you're watching "hardball." i ate breakfast and got heartburn, third day this week. so i took my heartburn pill and some antacids. we're having mexican tonight, so another pill then? unless we eat later, then pill later? if i get a snack now, pill now? skip the snack, pill later... late dinner, pill now? aghh i've got heartburn in my head. [ male announcer ] stop the madness of treating frequent heartburn. it's simple with prilosec otc.
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one pill a day. twenty-four hours. zero heartburn. no heartburn in the first place. great. the stalemate over the debt is taking a toll on president obama's standings in the poll. no surprise. the size of the lead held over generic 2012 evaporated. 41% say re-elected. 40% prefer a republican candidate not mentioned. back in may there was an 11-point lead. how this is affecting the presidency later in the hour. we'll be right back. a popping stock catches my eye. pull up the price chart. see what the analysts say. as i jump back, cnbc confirms what i thought. pull the trigger -- done. i can even do most of this on my smartphone.
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we should stop talking about the boehner bill as if it's some recipe for a solution here. it's dead on arrival. what you're have to do reconcile what's in reid and boehner, a lot of the things the president's talked about in terms of spending cuts he's
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willing to accept. that's where the compromise is. >> that was white house senior adviser david plouffe talking about the boehner bill on "the daily rundown" with chuck todd. and tea partiers plan to stick to their weapons no matter the economic consequences over the weekend. caucus member steve scalise. thank you so much for joining us. we're on, as you are well aware, facing this vote tonight. will you vote with the leadership? >> right now i'm going to vote for the plan that actually starts cutting spending and puts us on a path to balance the budget. supporting this plan and pushing for even deeper cuts down the road when we still have to face this spending problem we have in washington. >> what made you decide to go with the boehner plan rather than sticking to the very hard line of some tea partiers who said, basically, what we started with we want now? >> i supported cut, cap and
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balance and, frankly, still think that's the long-term solution. we'll live to fight another day on that bill. today the plan before us is basically what the president's talking about. that's still just threats and ultimatums and tax increases versus this plan speaker boehner brought that awful us acknowledge isn't the long-term solution but it starts the process of solving the problem by cutting spending and saying we're going to have to face the repeat they washington can't keep spending money it doesn't have. >> what percentage do you think of the u.s. economy should be spent by the federal government? give me a rough notion? because your party has used numbers that have been, the balanced budget amendment and the cap measure, for example. what do you want it to be? how much federal government should we have in terms of the dollar? >> sure, chris. somewhere around 18% would about healthy number for our country, and for the growth of our economy to create jobs. and obviously that's something we've been willing to negotiate on. willing to negotiate on the cuts, but you've got to have real cuts and be willing to negotiate on the kind of constitutional amendment and the
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way it should be structured, and yet the president and both the senate liberals refused to negotiate with us on any of those points. being reasonable we put a lot of options on the table. >> i want to be reasonable. you're talking going down 25% of the gdp down to around 18% pr chopping off one-third of federal activity. a third. >> nobody's talking about -- nobody said we have to do that overnight. >> well, overnight. even eventually what will you get rid of? what thing would you get rid of? >> we've laid out over $100 billion in cuts and the president doesn't agree with us on that. we've got to find some middle ground. at some point the president's got a responsibility to put a plan on the table. he disagrees with our plan. we put a plan in writing, sent it over, cut, cap and balance. so if they want to sit on the sidelines -- >> you're leading. let me ask you this -- all my life people want less governing except when it comes
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to them. my father, my parents, conservative republicans. when medicare came and they hit 65 they wanted to get it. who's willing to give up what they've got in this country? the military, pensions, social security medicare, medicaid. people like and middle class people get them and are entitled to them. what will you give up that's big to get from 25% of the economy down to 18%? this is a big thing. >> the biggest thing. medicare. obama care, according to the president's own actuaries is scheduled to go bankruptcy in the next 12 years. doing nothing let's medicare go bankrupt. we put on table in our budget a plan that actually says if you're 55 or older, nothing change. it's there are for you not going bust. under 55, rather than let them go bankrupt we keep a plan in place that finally controls the costs allowing people to have the same options that members of congress have today.
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that's a responsible plan addressing the problem as opposed to letting the plan go bankrupt. >> only 55 or younger. you're kicking the can down the road. the women live to be 80-something. you're going to tale woman 85 years old when he is gets there, you don't get health care. go buy insurance. go try to buy that when you're 85. you can't buy it. >> chris it works a lot like medicare part d, ultimately, the status quo it is goes bankrupt. that 85-year-old lives another five years there's going 20 be no medicare because it go bankrupt under current law. we're saying reform it strengthen it and keep it land make sure it doesn't bankrupt medicare and the rest of the country. look at the federal budget in the last two years under president obama you've seen departments grown by over 25% when families are cutting back. families are doing the majority -- >> that's general talk. >> we've laid down specifics. laid down 100 billion cuts.
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>> what percentage of this country do you think spends on foreign aid? things like welfare? everybody says that's where all the money's going. that's not where the money's going. >> there's money throughout this budget and we've had votes on the floor. i voted to caught whole lot more than the $100 billion. we've won some and haven't won some. we're finally changing the debate in washington. president obama said quit spending and look where it got us. the unemployment and the deficit. we've got to turn it around. >> this bed was on fire when he got in it. be honest about it. tax cut, two big war, a big tax cut, prescription bill that wasn't -- we had a guy on last night that showed almost half the federal debt was caused by bush over the eight years in office. that's serious business. >> everybody loves blaming president bush. >> i just did it. by the way -- >> you can blame anybody you want.
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who's been in office the last and a half years and doesn't want to correct the problem? place the blame where it is and it falls on both sides of the aisle. >> that was a totally -- >> the president doesn't want to put a plan in place. we've got fix the problem and it's not done by raising taxes. the problem is washington spends too much money. you don't solve that problem by sending washington more money and job killing taxes. you start controlling spending. >> i've heard you say over and over, a $14 trillion debt. half caused by bush. you can't just talk than when he left us with the problem. >> we're here solving the problem and president obama doesn't want to address it. doesn't want to put a plan in writing. we're sending another plan tonight. when will they start addressing the problem? >> raise taxes on the rich you
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guys defended race? >> plays class warfare and acts like billionaires and millionaires solve the problem. unwilling 20 put a plan in writing. people on both sides have criticized him for his failure to lead and if the shoe fits, wear it. >> thanks, for coming on. the only reason the democrats don't want the boehner plan is because of politics. let's listen to mitch mcconnell. >> democrats leaders and the president himself endorsed every feature of this legislation except one and that's the fact that it doesn't allow the president to avoid another national debate about spending and debt until after the next presidential election. why would you want to do that? make the president's re-election campaign a little easier is the answer. >> here's congressman john larson.
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thanks for joining uses. house democratic caucus from connecticut. sir, you just heard the diatribe. i want to be fair. the national debt now, the $14 trillion. wasn't invented by president obama. the $7 trillion added up by bush because of wars and prescription drugs and tax cuts for the rich and walk away from it and blame it all on him. i don't know how they have morality, but you heard this guy with 1 million words make that point. >> we ought mail everybody a copy of "true believer." we have pure ideological theater. what these guy, doing is a shame. the rest of the world is looking in. the world economy is teetering. clearly, the national economy is in frail recovery. most importantly, chris, household economies, people who want and are anxious about
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getting back to work and making sure they hold on to what they have look in at washington and they should be engaged in putting them back to work and solving the real problems that face us see nothing but ideological theater and pledges and true believer, and disinformation, totally re-creating history before us. they have amnesia when it comes to how we got to this point and if you dare raise it, geez, there you go again, raising george bush. let's get out of the blame game. let's keep everybody at the table and let's solve the real issue, which is jobs in this country. let's put people at the table and talk about what cuts have to be made strategically to have job creation and what we have to do to incentivize people and invent in the american people to put them back to work. it's not that complicated but elections, you've acknowledged this on your program, have consequences, and america is watching those consequences unfold. this is -- it's a sad time.
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if you believe in this institution, you work for tip o'neill, you saw how he was able to get together with ronald reagan. imagine accommodate be ronald reagan more than 18 time on the national debt. this shouldn't be an issue. this is about the full faith of the american people. >> you heard that guy just come on. he got elected and came on with a lot of words to make the simple point the president has to think up programs to cut. maim name how you get down to 1%? -- 18%. it's going grow over time. never as small as it once was in thomas jefferson's time, but these guys say now it's the president's job. they're throwing it on his side. not only is the debt his problem, which they gave hem, he's got to come up with all the republican spending program cuts. they want him to list their cuts for them. i've never heard anything like this. >> obama came up way cure for the common cold or cancer, karl maloney said, these guys would
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say, no. when obama had everybody in the room. talk about the real driving of costs, short term and long term, is the cost of health care. way to had to be addressed, but you never hear them -- they're always talking about the benefits accrued to people. you pointed out. what person is going to give up though benefits, and i would add, why should they? when you look at the escalating costs, where's the outcry for medical devices? pharmaceutical? insurance, doctors, hospitals? and the trial bar, to come up with the savings that we see a nation that has spending close to 20% of its gross domestic product on health care. put america back to work. address the issue. don't go after the beneficiaries but the true cost. that's what adults do. what's that tip would have done and in fact what ronald reagan would have done.
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>> i agree about the lawyers. though them in the mix. people get six. two requests, give me what i can get and get somebody else to pay for it. that's the way people are when they get old and i understand completely. somebody that's 80 years old is not out there swinging a pick. they can't pay for it. they need help. thank you, chairman of the democratic caucus. thanks for helping tonight. john mccain, he meant the candidates to lost. the old john mccain is back. that tiff is next in the "sideshow." he's a straight-talking express again. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. i remember the days before copd.
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call or click to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. welcome back to "hardball." now the "sideshow." first up, when was the last time you heard from failed tea party candidate sharron angle and
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christine o'donnell? what happened yesterday thanks to comments made by the great john mccain on the u.s. senate floor as he read a piece from the "wall street journal." let's listen to the senator. >> the idea seems to be that if the house gop refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue and the public will turn in mass against barack obama. then democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the tea party hobbits could return to middle earth having defeated morador. this is the kind of crack political thinking that turned sharron angle and christine o'donnell into gop senate nominees. >> actually, he can substitute for me with that kind of talk. both ticked off, both women ticked off at the reference that came back to income contain with
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interesting crafted statements. angle attacked mccain's "lord of the rings" reference saying as in the fable it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. this lord of the t.a.r.p., mccain, ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the tea party. not criticizing. what world do they live in? and christine o'donnell, not a witch, responded, doesn't help him to attack to those conservative whose graciously gave him another chance to keep his senate seat. i remember that differently out in arizona. really i think what happened was, they had their own candidates and the candidate was j.d. hayworth and mccain beat the party candidate. and finally, joe walsh, ah, sued by his ex-wife for over $100,000 in unpaid child support. what a great corner she. the lawsuit said he failed to make child support payments despite loaning a total of $35,000 to his campaign. we know where his priorities are. the six-figure amount is far too high and his claim is had no more problems with child support
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than any other average guy. don't you love that lawyer? he's no more of a deadbeat than any other guy who isn't paying child support. anyway, up next, despite over the debt ceiling is it helping president obama? losing support in key states. can he regain his political footing after this kerfuffle this weekend? you're watching "hardball." only on msnbc. as much as i can about a company before i invest in it. that's why i like fidelity. they give me tools and research i can't get anywhere else.
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in texas, 21-year-old army private admitted to plotting another domestic terror attack on fort hood. authorities found weapons and bomb making equipment stashed in his hotel room near the base. the sus slapping sanctions on six iranians accusing them to working with al qaeda to funnel
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money and insurgens to pakistan. a top chander and aides kr wild when a car bomb went off. released from the hospital after a severe asthma attack. and a former pitcher found dead today in los angeles, the victim of an apparent suicide. i'm veronica della cruz, let's get balk to "hardball." back to "hardball." what a night it is. the house of representatives is expected to vote on john boehner's deal. the vote is delayed. no word when it will take place and the best guess, no, he doesn't have the votes he needs to pass the bill and send it to the senate. msnbc will, of course, bring you the vote when it happens or
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bring you the speeches before the vote. in his debt ceiling vote, president obama angered republicans being unwilling to compromise. how has president obama fared in the fight? michael steele is here not exactly as a judge but a commentator. and msnbc contributor, and ron reagan's here. the youthful, forever youthful ron reagan, stressed in youthful attire wearing the threads of youth. >> someone has to. >> the boyish looks he's always had. here he is today. >> how do i do that? >> just dress like that. that's the trick. >> i'll send awe memo. >> you dress like a ceo, and he dresses like -- not. did an average of national polls what obama's, the president's, approval rating was trending downward. not a good week for him. 50.5. he's got a greater than 50%. negative is approval, 44%. i'll give you the first attempt
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here, michael. this is not a good time, but, you know, i keep thinking, almost like a bank guard. one of these overaged guys standing in uniform. when the guys come in, we want all the money now. put it in our bag, the tea party's said, give us all the money. overloaded with arm, bring down the government. blow up the bank. what's he supposed to do? what is he supposed to do to be strong? >> as opposed to what he's done. i think what he's done, as we've seen in some of the comedy, fumbled the gun out of his holster. >> okay. >> fumbled in his steps towards the bank robbers to -- >> what would you do? >> i think the president diminished himself. >> what would you have done? >> i think i would have -- coming off of 2010, in that little area where he got a good many things done. >> when he gave you guys all you wanted? >> look, he did. he took the position and that was the -- came out strong. pulled the caucus he needed to get it done. >> he gave way to your side.
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>> the same thing -- well, if he's talking about being the adult and the pragmatist and grown-up, then he showed that there. why -- >> the demands are the right were so extreme. a balanced budget amendment. no revenues. just big cuts in programs democrats spent years creating. they want it all their way. your thoughts? >> well i think that it's possible the clock is on mr. obama's side at this point. i mean if we get to 11:59 on monday, there's still no good deal. a deal that, a bill he signed, i think, maybe even before that point, he demands that a clean debt ceiling increase be given to him. that he will veto any other legislation. he simply won't have it. give me a clean bill through next year and i'll sign it and nothing else, and then the onus is back on the house. they have to come up with this
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bill, this legislation in the first place. they're trying to put all the blame won him, but it's really with them. >> if they pass a bill tonight, will it work? a big bill, goes to the senate, without demands -- well, it's going to be a softer approach. can they be pushed into that corner ron's talking about? >> ron makes an excellent point. a real practical reality that exists out there and an option for the president. the problem is it cuts both ways. as we've seen from some of the recent polls, the president is trending now 31% for re-election among independents. he's taken a hit here. the question is how do people proceed that given all that's happened over the last two, three week, everybody's got mud on them? does he have more or less mud? the strategy, question, if you get to the point ron described, pulling the trigger what comes on the other side if the house says, no? >> last night, supposed to have the budget director on.
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worked with him in tip o'neill days. couldn't do the show. he was meet wig the vice president. he went through something quite real. they've offered tremendous offers. medicare, medicaid, social security, all kinds of painful cut proposals. if the republicans would just give some revenues to go home and say we got a decent deal here. right would not give them even that. they wouldn't say yes to -- >> and the question is -- the question is -- >> and president obama how he looks and who comes off better than who in this. you know, the american public i think can now see what the dynamic here is. they're asking themselves, because, remember, this is a phony crisis. this isn't really a crisis. they could raise the debt ceiling today. they could have done it six months ago. they can do it at 11:59 on monday. it could happen in five minutes. it's not hard. you have to ask yourself the question, who is ginning up this phony crisis? and the answers is, not barack obama. >> respond to that.
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>> absolutely. the answer is harry reid, because last year when harry reid had a chance -- >> it's harry reid now. harry reid? >> listen to my point. >> okay. >> when the senate did not address raising the debt limit at the end of last year harry reid said, no, after the election, we'll leave that to the republicans to handle that next year. he passed the buck at that moment. he did not take the leadership responsibility -- >> who dropped it, then? >> look, ron -- you can cut this any way you want, bro, the bottom line, democrats controlled the senate and the house and the white house up until election night, up until january when the new republican -- >> who controls the house now? and where does the legislation originate? >> and b, refused to extend the debt limit when he had an opportunity to do it. don't start blaming -- >> blame other people all you want. i think the american people know better. >> don't step away from the facts and the reality of how we got here.
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>> the public needs re-educated constantly. never news worthy. this debt ceiling is newsworthy, as ron said. the conservatives wanted to make it an issue. the problem, it's knop not appropriation. signature of the president and go back and say whether you pay the bills or not. all your questioning. not whether you'll spend the money. whether you'll pay the bills. nobody's given back of these services? isn't that true? >> well, it's true. >> then you created a crisis. >> we have not to this extent. the crisis was already brewing. you were right before going back to the bush administration, particularly in the second term, with a lot of the spending that took place there. pile on top of that, t.a.r.p., a bunch of other programs. when obama came in, $10 trillion worth of debt. today we look at $14 trillion worth of debt. you had a group of individuals who were elected last year who watched that precipitous climb and -- >> bush tax cuts had taken effect.
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you can't say he came's in with 10 and ended up with 14. >> and you can -- >> what does that say about future spending? >> i can't keep up. if you talk fast i can't keep up with you. the fact of the matter is these tax cuts have cost the federal government treasury money. that's why the debt's going up. >> what's cost the -- >> and the -- >> excuse me. when bush left us, i'm glad he did, w., i'm glad he finished, but he left behind continuing two war, continuing tax cuts, unfunded prescription drugs and spending he approved. all of that continued to grow. >> when you cut taxes and you continue to spend what is that? >> the president's problem is he got in the bed had it was already on fire. that's a hard -- >> you can excuse obama all you want. >> i'm not excusing him. maybe he shouldn't have gotten in the bed. >> who's excusing bush in this? michael, if -- you're excusing obama. what about what got us here? >> a good -- michael steele, ron reagan thank you. up next, damage control. a look at what both sides are doing to come out of this fight looking like grown-ups.
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and go to to find out more. welcome back to "hardball." when all is said and done, it's often all about the message, who broke through and won the war of public opinion. mark penn is a democratic strategist and former advise or in the clinton white house. how do you sell this baby if you're the president and you've had to buckle to only cuts in domestic programs? that you treasure as a democrat? no increases of taxes, even for the very wealthy. and just put up with this, playing in the other guy's sand box for weeks now. how do you win on that one? >> well, it's a mess right now. when you look at the president's numbers, they've been sinking. he's got to come out with a win here. and a win for him frankly is a deal in which the budget is cut, in which taxes are not part of it, and he gets it out of the
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election season. if he does that, then the deficit issue is behind him until the election and he can go on to what's right and wrong for the country. >> why knowing that would the republicans like boehner and their advisers like you ever go along with a deal to put this behind them? >> because there are two things here. a political reality. the republicans in congress also gain by having a deal. if you go back to what happened in 1996, president clinton got re-elected but so did the republicans in congress. if those two make a deal, those two are -- >> don't they benefit from this constant interruption of obama's messaging by every couple of months going back and fighting over the debt, which is a republican issue? >> well, yeah. but there's a real deadline here. and just like when gingrich decided to shut down the government, the republicans paid a terrible price. so the republicans can thrash all they want. but if they cross that trip wire -- >> but they haven't yet. >> but they are very close. >> suppose they make noise, noise, noise, beat their drums for weeks as they have, and
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magically cut a deal monday. >> well, again, any deal that gets cut before the deadline, the president is still a winner, because the president did it, right? >> ok. >> if there's no deal, then both lose. >> let me test you. you've been an adviser to the clintons, hillary as well as bill. suppose you're advising the president, and he's confronted monday night. do i sign a bill that forces the issue to come back in a few months? >> yes. >> you accept it even though it will be a fight in another couple of months? >> you don't want this thing to go to a debt crisis. you're the president of the united states. you can't pay the bills for the united states. you say this is wrong what the republicans are doing, but you can't let the country be held hostage. you sign it, you're done with it, move on. >> you don't say i want a clean bill or nothing? >> no. you're going to have a budget fight. october 1, the budget runs out. >> i think you're right. you notice that the advisers have put out the word that he would veto a bill without the second requirement in it. >> that's right. they are threatening the
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republicans. every side until the final deadline tries to get everything they can. >> you wrote something really smart in a memo. you say that obama made a big mistake by saying i'll agree to cut medicare if you agree to raise taxes on the rich. >> yeah. >> how is that wrong? >> that was a losing message. >> everybody has been making that case. >> he said i'll cut medicare, which he is supposed to defend medicare and medicaid, education, and environment. and he'll do it if they raise taxes on the wealthy. so he didn't get the independent voters he wanted, because he came off as a tax raiser instead of a deficit container. so it was a mistake to mix his message that way. and the poll numbers show it. now he has changed the message. it's a little late. >> why does everybody democrat in the country sing in the chorus for weeks now, maybe i've been part of that chorus at time, saying we have to raise revenues. you say that's a loser. >> what he should do is tax reform. >> ok. but you know that the president has been saying let's get people with corporate jets, hedge
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funds. you say in your memo they are all democrats. >> well, no. >> the very rich a lot of them are. >> when he was talking about corporate jets and stuff like that, he was onto something. then he went back to the bush tax cuts and income tax. he got off his message. the whole thing got mixed up, and he started to lose points. >> ok. thank you. i don't know why they just don't say millionaires. >> do tax reform. >> mark penn, please come back. we'll give you more time when we can. when we return, the m.o. of the tea party. how far will they willing to go? if anything goes to get your way, what's next? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them.
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let me finish tonight with a simple thought about what we're watching here. the first people to battle the demands of those threatening to blow up the economy were the republicans in the house. the leaders. the leaders did what the followers told them to do, meet their demands, hold up the country to get their way. those followers didn't win the senate or the presidency, just the house. using the house, they can hold up the entire united states government. they threaten to blow things up economically, and it worked. they said they were willing to do that just to get their way. not by persuasion or politics or not by democratic government, but by threatening the destruction of the country's finances. right. so what's next? the power grid? well, the next time will they
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threaten to close down electricity and communications? that might really work well. really get some action. hey, we're talking the ends justifying the means here, aren't we? if getting their way on taxes and spending issues justifies drifting this country up to 9 the edge of financial catastrophe, how about a more frightening weapon? the wild ones won this round by scaring us with a shutdown. us, by the way. did you hear that word? us. they threatened to hold up the country to rob it of its wealth to get what they wanted. a spike in interest rates would rob this country of uncountable billions, and that is what they jammed us with. i will not forget those who did it. i think the country will be well advised to do the same, because they will try to do it again, just as bank robbers do. the bigger the heist, the bigger the appetite. the only question is whether certain voters out there think this is the way they want things done. if they do, listen closely, they are the trouble. list